Silver Fern Farms posted a recent market expansion milestone, now selling its Net Carbon Zero by Nature 100% Grass-Fed Angus Beef in more than 134 Jewel-Osco supermarkets across the Midwest.

“Ideally, we will be progressing toward activating a wider network of stores throughout the country and enabling more sustainably conscious consumers to get access to this product,” said Matt Luxton, Silver Fern Farms’ director of sales, USA. “We are in talks with multiple retailers to progress this over the course of this year.”

New Zealand-based Silver Fern Farms’ Net Carbon Zero By Nature market expansion is the result of a long-term branding and production commitment to sustainability programs. Net Carbon Zero certified means that all emissions associated with each kilogram of product have been measured and then removed by actively growing vegetation, within the lifecycle of that product.

“That covers from when an animal is born on a farm, right through to getting product to market and the use of packaging and refrigeration in store and at home,” he said.

“Silver Fern Farms and its farmer shareholders have been in some respects focused on sustainability for decades, but our formal recognition of sustainability as a business kicked off in 2016, and it has rapidly evolved since then,” Luxton said.

Silver Fern Farms has achieved Net Carbon Zero for these Angus cuts within its own farming system by insetting emissions through on-farm brush and vegetation, which Luxton said is a unique characteristic to New Zealand’s farm environment.

“We had to develop a way of understanding and mapping vegetation occurring on our suppliers' farms that provided a year-on-year independently verified way of proving that vegetation was present, what type it was, how old it was and its rate of carbon sequestration,” he said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the use of satellite technology. We spent two years working with a range of providers and a group of farmers to understand what vegetation was present and then to narrow down 74 different types of vegetation into broader categories.”

Silver Fern Farms then partnered with two specialist companies: one with the satellite mapping and AI computer skills and the other a specialist in forestry, carbon markets, climate change and carbon sequestration rates.

“The independent work that mapped and measured all of the emissions of our Net Carbon Zero Beef range found that shipping product from New Zealand to any market around the world is less than 2% of its total carbon footprint,” Luxton said.

“The use of satellite mapping and training software to read them does open up huge opportunities for us to connect the work our farmers are doing on the ground to what our customers and consumers want to know about their food,” he said.